Roblox: Why is it so popular and how can brands utilise it?

By Apira Giriharan / June 29, 2022
Roblox brand strategy

If you’re someone who has interacted with a child in the last few years, chances are you’ve heard about Roblox.

For those who haven’t, Roblox is an online platform and storefront that allows users to create and play games. 

Roblox itself is not a game, but rather a place where people can go to play games made by other developers. 

What makes Roblox different from any other entity in the games industry is that all the games—over 20 million of them—are made by its users.

But it’s not only regular people making games on Roblox—even brands are trying to cash in on this action. 

Brands use Roblox to deliver unique experiences to their audiences, promote their brand, reach new audiences, and to enhance customer loyalty. 

Who uses Roblox?

Roblox has around 55 million daily active users, with the bulk of Roblox’s users made up of children and teenagers. 

It’s played by one-third of all Americans under the age of 16. 

But Roblox isn’t just a game for children—its fastest-growing demographic is players between the ages of 17 and 24.

Growth surged dramatically during the pandemic when in-person interaction was limited and students were looking for new ways to connect with peers. 

Since the uptick in digital experiences as one of the primary ways of communication, games have now become a place to hang out with friends and share virtual experiences.

Since its surge in popularity in 2020, several brands took advantage of the captive audience, by either collaborating with popular developers to offer branded in-game features or creating brand-new worlds and games for users to explore. 

While this may seem like a strange tactic, it’s one of the best ways for brands to interact with their audiences in a way that’s a lot more organic than traditional advertising. 

Here are some great examples of brands using Roblox as a marketing tool.

NIKELAND

On Roblox, Nike went ahead and created a virtual world called NIKELAND. 

Nike recreated their real-life headquarters in the game and offered players the opportunity to explore the world and its arenas, play mini-games, and even use the NIKELAND toolkit to create their games. 

NIKELAND has been successful in getting an entirely new generation of people interested in what they have to offer, connecting with them on their level. 

They’re given fun and exciting experiences on the Roblox platform while simultaneously falling in love with the brand, which eventually translates into real-world sales. 

Nike built a digital showroom in its world, allowing players to visit this in-game location. This showroom features a host of Nike apparel and allows players to try these items on and wear the official Nike clothing from within the game. 

This concept offers an interesting opportunity for brands to soft launch their products within this metaverse so that players within the game get early access to check out any new products before they get released in real life. This can even help generate hype for new product drops. 

Brands can even use this concept to gauge the relative interest levels of certain items with an audience before it’s released.

If users suddenly swamp around a new product and start wearing it in NIKELAND, chances are they will reflect that interest and purchase the product in real life. 

Chipotle’s Halloween on Roblox

Chipotle has a yearly tradition of offering a Halloween ‘Boorito promotion. 

In 2021, however, they decided to make a virtual transition and offer the same promotion on the Roblox platform. 

With younger audiences typically not interested in traditional advertising, Chipotle was able to meet their guests where they were by creating a digital experience on Roblox. 

Chipotle gave away $1 million in free burritos to the first 30,000 participants who try out the maze and visit the in-game restaurant. 

Roblox simply offered a more engaging experience than Chipotle’s past campaigns, with a game that featured a Halloween-themed corn maze full of prizes and opportunities to wear virtual Chipotle-themed costumes. 

This ‘Boorito effort sought to drive interest in Chipotle’s digital ordering facilities, both through its app and website, with a free promo code available on Roblox for a free entree, and a $5 deal on Halloween that is available exclusively on their online platform. 

With these gamified marketing efforts and free food giveaways, Chipotle was able to expand its digital presence and build customer loyalty.

Chipotle’s experience was mainly created to promote their Halloween promotion, but their in-game location stays open all year long, which creates an enduring brand presence on the platform. 

With the metaverse being such an integral part of how people will interact going into the future, this is a method of advertising that will eventually be a norm for brands.

Just like having a social media presence with an active and engaging feed, brands will soon have to transition into integrating themselves into virtual communities and creating engaging experiences for their audiences.

Ralph Lauren’s Winter Escape

Ralph Lauren came out with a limited-term experience called the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape, where a digital collection of gender-neutral clothing was offered. 

Avatars could wear up to eight sportswear looks and select their items from the brand’s collections at the time. 

The experience had new product drops week by week, giving users new looks, limited-edition accessories, and surprise bonus items. 

Ralph Lauren also chose to open up this virtual space for a limited time, in contrast to Chipotle’s or Nike’s permanent virtual addresses. 

While this may seem to be something that would be less successful, this strategy played into the scarcity tactic and more people wanted to try out what Ralph Lauren had to offer before it was too late.

You can also incorporate the scarcity strategy into your marketing efforts to give your audience a unique and authentic experience.

In addition, while permanent virtual spaces can bring a great deal of success, creating something to keep the attention of your audience for months on end is a lot harder and requires a lot more effort.

A short brand experience can give your users a more meaningful experience, especially if you don’t have the means of continually coming up with new original content. 

As you continue to have these limited-run experiences, not only do these work on a promotional level for any new product launches or collection drops, but they also work to build customer loyalty. 

Roblox—a metaverse of opportunity

For brands looking for new ways to enhance their digital presence and marketing efforts, Roblox presents an unparalleled opportunity, offering several ways to get through to customers, whether this involves building an entirely new world, developing games, or creating custom apparel. 

As the world delves deeper into the metaverse, however, building these experiences will become a lot more pertinent to reaching audiences and will eventually be something that brands will have to do to survive.


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